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Updated February 1998

Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations United Nations Capital Development FundInternational Fund for Agricultural DevelopmentGerman Agency for Technical CooperationSwiss Agency for Development and CooperationWorld Bank

16-18 December 1997

Technical Consultation on Decentralization

THE TECHNICAL Consultation on Decentralization (TCD) was sponsored by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), the United Nations Capital Development Fund (UNCDF), the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), the German Agency for Technical Cooperation (GTZ), the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) and the World Bank (WB). The TCD brought together policy-makers, practitioners and academics from the developed and developing world to review and discuss the contribution of decentralized and participatory strategies to rural development. To achieve this goal the TCD was structured into working groups organized around selected themes. The TCD also included four presentations by key speakers and a poster session.


The objectives of the TCD were to:
  1. Draw the lessons from the review of research and empirical evidence, and reach consensus on the potential and limitation of decentralization for rural development;
  2. Identify good practices and principles for the sequencing and design of decentralization strategies.

Secondary objectives were to:

  1. Develop the elements of a training programme to be implemented in the future through regional seminars;
  2. Open the dialogue between donors and discuss future collaboration and coordination; and, Devise a strategy for dissemination and continuous sharing of lessons from research and practical experience including the creation of a network.

Working groups

Each working group consisted of 20 to 30 people. They met in sessions of 3 hours to discuss selected themes and reported their findings to the plenary. The selected themes included:
A. Conceptual and global view
1. The political dimension of decentralization
2. Decentralization: programme formulation and implementation , monitoring and evaluation, and participation
3. Reform of institutions and the new role of the State
4. Fiscal Decentralization, regional equity, macroeconomic management and rural growth

B - Operational aspects
5. Institutional capacity
6. Decentralization and access to rural services (agricultural & social)
7. Decentralization and Natural Resource Management (NRM)
8. Decentralization and the provision of rural infrastructure
9. Design of intergovernmental fiscal relations and international finance institutions allocations for rural development

C - Proposals for the future
10. Sequencing and design of decentralization strategies - Application to case studies : Burkina Faso, Bolivia, Bangladesh, Malawi, Indonesia


For further information on the Technical Consultation, contact:
Tomás Lindemann
FAO Rural Development Division (SDA)
Viale delle Terme di Caracalla
00100 Rome, Italy

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